Dear Milk & Cookies Pie: It’s Me, Your Biggest Fan

For kids and kids at heart.

April 17, 2019
Photo by Julia Gartland

My brother once introduced me to a friend of his by saying, “This is my sister, she has a romantic comedy job.” I suppose what he meant was that my job is interesting—cool enough to want to chat about, but maybe you’d leave the conversation questioning if it was even real.

I write recipes and make pretty food for photoshoots. And yes, my fluffy white pup, Blimley, accompanies me to work most days, pawing for attention and enjoying the occasional kitchen scrap. But Brimley’s cuteness aside, day-to-day life is far from the heartstring-pulling scene in Bridesmaids, where Kristen Wiig makes a single perfect cupcake, or Keri Russell’s soothingly twangy narration of pie assembly in Waitress.

My arms are always dotted with burns and my fingers seem to have a ton of tiny cuts that are invisible until I squeeze a lemon. I picked my wedding band based solely on how strong and scratch proof it would be. I spend about half of my week packing, unpacking, and schlepping huge binfulls of food, plates, and equipment (I even started weightlifting a few years ago, largely with the goal in mind that I could fill them more fully).

Despite my best efforts, most of my shirts have a grease stain, or a torn hem where it got caught on the oven door when I was in a hurry. The bandanas I’ve worn for years and years are solely a byproduct of needing to keep my short hair up and out of the way daily, and I’ve become so dependent on them that I’ve truly forgotten how to do anything else to my hair.

Be still my tart. Photo by Julia Gartland

But I count myself lucky, because I love every minute of it. Even when I’m standing next to a 425-degree oven on a 95-degree day. Even when I arrive with 10 bins to a fourth-floor studio with no elevator. When I put on my apron each morning, I feel like a kid who’s just arrived at the playground. I get to dive in, throw flour around, and make fun, yummy, beautiful things.

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Top Comment:
“I audibly gasped when I saw this. Incredibly clever and absolutely gorgeous. ”
— Grant M.

Though there are a dozen grown-up realities in my job, I do really get to indulge in holding on to some of the best parts of my youth: playfulness, imagination, silliness, and probably a bit too much sugar.

Photo by Julia Gartland

This tart was born from the “still a little kid” portion of my brain. It starts with an easy-to-make press-in cookie crust, speckled with plenty chocolate chunks (leaving the baking soda and powder out helps it bake up flat, leaving room for the filling later).

After the crust is baked and cooled, it’s filled with a simple vanilla panna cotta. This makes the most incredible combination of milk and cookies in every bite. And if you really want to send it over the top, top it with piles of swoopy whipped cream and nestle some mini chocolate chip cookies on top, too.

Photo by Julia Gartland

When you make this tart, you may even have your own rom-com montage moment. Suddenly, the music playing out of your speakers will become a perfect baking soundtrack. If you drop a little whipped cream on the floor, it will happen at just the right moment, in line with the music, and your fluffy little dog (or cat—it’s your movie), will come lap it up.

Or maybe, you’ll just make it in real life and enjoy feeling like a little kid as you throw some flour around. Either way, I think you’ll love this nostalgic, fun recipe as much as I do. At least, that is, until your grown-up brain realizes it’s time to do the dishes.

What's your best milk and cookies memory? Share in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Nikkitha Bakshani
    Nikkitha Bakshani
  • Ron
  • Joanne McKenna
    Joanne McKenna
  • Grant Melton
    Grant Melton
  • Alex Renner
    Alex Renner
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!


Nikkitha B. April 27, 2019
Aaaah reading this made me realize how much I miss you! Hope you're well
Ron April 20, 2019
Fairly easy recipe, okay flavor.

I used vanilla beans, Green & Black 70% Trinitario chocolate and Jersey cow dairy (more fat).
Crust proved to be the most difficult part- whose texture was somewhere between barely wet sand and sandstone, and wanted to easily crumble while using a measuring cup to level the base, build the walls and thin the corners. The walls also browned too quicky while the base had just reached color. The crust was very dense and near impossible to remove from the pan. It also dominated the flavor and mouthfeel from mid to end bite, the cotta and whip quicky disappearing.
Otherwise, nice flavors and a good crowd pleaser.
I had to rush the chilling, and did 30 minutes freezer and 40 minutes fridge- enough time to set up just fine.
Joanne M. April 18, 2019
So, is the dog Blimley or Brimley?
Grant M. April 17, 2019
I audibly gasped when I saw this. Incredibly clever and absolutely gorgeous.
Alex R. April 17, 2019
Reminds me of a dressed up version of potluck cookie salad I grew up eating at family events in Minnesota. The closest recipe I could find was here: https://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/fudge-stripe-cookie-salad-with-mandarin-oranges/

My relatives opted not to include the fruit, but regardless it wasn't a holiday at my grandparents without this recipe.